The Artimus Pyle Band Brings The Music of Lynyrd Skynyrd to Mt Dora, Florida Friday June 4, 2021



 As we head head into summer and out of the Covid-19 pandemic, outdoor concerts are starting to increase. In Central Florida, the unwanted guests at these spring and summer shows is no other than Mother Nature. At Elizabeth Evans Park on the shore of Lake Dora in Florida’s city of Mount Dora, she raised her ugly head and threatened to interfere with the fun. It was Friday evening, June 4, 2021, and the air was humid and heavy with the threat of thunderstorms. This changed the event schedule and quite possibly kept many folks away. The lineup was shaved from three bands to two by cutting the 6:00 pm opener, Orlando’s top cover band Papa Wheelee. Winner of many battle of the bands over the years, Papa Wheelee is a high energy band and performs a very professional set. They were slotted to open for Benton Blount and The Artimus Pyle Band.  They would have been a great way to get the concert started. I was, however, able to get a minute to say hello to Papa Wheelee’s lead singer David Hayes while he waiting for the show to begin  as he was standing in the crowd.


Around 7:00pm, Benton Blount and his band took the stage and played an extended hour set. The sky was gray, and it started to sprinkle as lightning could be seen in the distance. Those in attendance continued to check the weather radar on their phones and question if the lakefront would be spared from the storm raging in the distance. Blount, a wonderful performer was a top ten finalist on the NBC’s America’s Got Talent. I was expecting Blount as a country artist to which he was billed, but his set was rock n roll all the way. He even finished his set with The Georgia Satellites, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”! Yes, Benton Blount has a great voice and is definitely a huge talent.





Get Up

All Night


Back Room Love Song


That’s An American

Nothin’ On You

Can’t You See

Please Don’t Let it Be Love

Drift Away

God Talks To Me

Put Some Drive In You

Guilty as Charged

Keep Your Hands To Yourself



Artimus Pyle Band at Elizabeth Evans Park in Mount Dora, Florida



With the delayed start, there was a lot of waiting back stage by the musicians and the stage crew. I took that time to catch up with the band members of headliner, The Artimus Pyle Band, the tribute band to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Guitarists Brad Durden, Jerry Lyda, and bass player Dave Fowler were out of the tour bus, so we took the chance to chat back stage. In the artists tent behind the stage, I met Artimus Pyle for the first time as he was busy autographing a large stack of drum heads for fans and charities. Artimus was cordial and warmly allowed my intrusion into his space and time as I thanked him for allowing my access to the event. What struck me was his demeanor as he signed item after item, definitely a daunting task that he has performed tens of thousands of times in his almost five decade career. Artimus wasn’t just signing his name, he was drawing a complete drum kit to go along with his John Hancock! Even at 72 years of age, he isn’t worn out or tired with his position in music history. Oh on the contrary, he seemed to relish it as he posed for pictures with family and friends after his extended signing session back stage. His passion is unwavering.


The Artimus Pyle Band took the stage a little after 9:00 pm. After a montage of Lynyrd Skynyrd song snippets linked together that played through the PA system, the sihouettes of the band members could barely be seen entering the stage in the dark. The last one to enter the stage was Artimus. He was led to the drum riser with the aid of someone holding a flashlight. The crowd irrupted when they realized Artimus was on stage seated at his drum kit in the darkness. The lights came up and the band went into “Saturday Night Special,” from Lynyrd Skynyrds 1975 album, “Nothin’ Fancy” released on MCA Records. That was Artimus’ first recording with the band. A great up tempo song to start the show and get the crowd to forget about the weather as they enthusiastically got to their feet.





Their set consisted of fifteen songs spanning the five albums from 1973 to 1977. “Street Survivor,” was added from the movie written by Artimus Pyle of the same name. The music was spot on and played exactly how it was recorded.  The audience danced and sang along to each and every hit. Ronnie Van Zant was the heart and soul of Lynyrd Skynyd, but Artimus was the beat and the backbone of the band. Although he was born in Tennessee and not Florida,  but he was blessed being Southern by The Grace of God!


Photographing The Artimus Pyle Band is always a fun experience as the band members are having the time of their lives on stage. They mug for the camera and audience, and you can tell they love the on stage comradery within the band. Artimus even smiles a bit here and there between beats. Get out and see this band if you like parting, dancing, Southern Rock n Roll, and having a good time. Every fan that braved the weather on this night was glad they came!




Artimus Pyle – Drums

Brad Durden – Vocals/Keyboard

Jerry Lyda – Vocals/Guitar

Scott Raines – Vocals/Guitar

Dave Fowler – Bass





Saturday Night Special

Needle and The Spoon

Call Me The Breeze

That Smell

Street Survivor

Gimme 3 Steps

Travelin Man

Got That Right

Simple Man

Working For MCA

Honky Tonk Nightime Man

Ain’t No Good Lying

Curtis Lowe

Swamp Music

Sweet Home Alabama

Free Bird



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